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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

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of the rays constituting the dispersed beam exhibited by white light as a whole. The dispersion appeared indeed to commence a little earlier, at about the refrangibility of the fourth dark band in the spectrum of the entire dispersed beam. When the small prism was held to the eye with one hand, while the small lens in the board was gradually moved with the other, in a direction from the red to the violet, through the part of the spectrum where the dispersion commenced, it was found that the region of the first four bands was lighted up almost simultaneously, the whole field of view having been previously dark. When the lens was moved a very little further on the dispersed beam with its five bands was formed complete. Indeed the whole five appeared almost simultaneously. Speaking approximately, and in fact with almost perfect accuracy, we may say that if white light be conceived to be decomposed into two portions, the first containing rays of all refrangibilities up to that of the fixed line 6, or thereabouts, and the second containing rays of all greater refrangibilities, the dispersed light produced by white light as a whole belongs exclusively to the first portion; and yet, were the bottle illuminated by the first portion alone, no dispersion whatsoever would be produced, whereas were it illuminated by the second portion alone, which contains not a ray having the same refrangibility as any one of the dispersed rays, the dispersion would be exhibited in full perfection.
Common Colourless Glasses.
78. Sir David Brewster states that he has met with many specimens, both of colourless plate and colourless flint glasses, which disperse a beautiful green light. All the colourless glasses which I have examined dispersed light internally to a greater or less extent, with the exception of some few specimens belonging to Dr Faraday's experiments. A beautiful green seems to be the commonest tint of the dispersed beam, and this I have found in wine glasses, decanters, apothecaries' bottles, pieces of unannealed glass, &c.; also in many specimens of plate and crown glass. The green was generally of a finer tint than that dispersed by the canary glass, but was not near so copious. On analysis it was found to consist usually of red and green separated by a dark band, or rather a minimum of brightness. Those specimens